Before The Blackout, Allister’s third full-length album, refers to the many drinking binges lead man Tim Rogner went through before completing this album. It’s been three years since the Drive-Thru Record veterans released Last Stop Suburbia, and, after lineup changes, frustrations, and painful breakups, they are ready to give us a new offering of their pop-punk. Rogner, along with guitarist Kyle Lewis, bassist Scott Murphy, and drummer Mike Leveranz, wanted to add a more rock and roll style to this batch of songs this time around. What we get is a solid album that incorporates sing-along choruses, fist-pumping riffs, and persevering vocals.
Allister begins with a stinging guitar riff overlapped by Rogner’s yearning vocals that lead into full-out rock from the band. “D2” features aggressive guitars and an upbeat chorus. “A Lotta Nerve”, the first single off the album, addresses the girl who left Rogner in favor of her drug habit. Musically, it’s classic Allister. “Blackout” is a dark and hard-hitting track that is full of sharp guitar parts, tribal drumming, and a chorus that’ll have you shouting along to in the car. “2 A.M.,” the slowest song on the album, displays longing vocals and bouncy guitar hooks. “A Study In Economics” reminds me a lot of older Green Day, while “Suffocation” is another fast, mature track that’ll get you moving in a hurry. “Potential Suicide” is another track about Rogner’s ex-girlfriend’s drug habits. The final track of the album, “Alone,” is my personal favorite. It’s the album’s anthem; the chorus sums up the feelings and reflections that the band has had over the past 3 years.
In my opinion, the second half of this album is a lot stronger than the first half, and it takes a few listens to get into. While the lyrical content of the album is nothing new, the musical aspect on this album is much better than what Allister has given us in the past. The strong second half of the album left me wanting for more, and hopefully Allister will build off of that for their next album. So, even though this album lacks some lasting power and the first half of the album is weak, the passion and enthusiasm shown throughout is never lacking, making this a must-own for any pop-punk fan. With Before The Blackout, Allister has released their best album to date.